Google Search Console’s Behaviour for a New Site (in Sandbox)

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For a brand new website, there’s a 1 to 6 month sandbox period. This time frame, in our estimate is based on factors like:

  • Industry the site is in
  • Link building speed
  • Citations
  • Social mentions
  • Link profile (follow, no follow, image, pdf)
  • Anchor text profile (money, general, long tail, miscellaneous and image anchors)

Exactly what determines how long a brand new website will be in the Google sandbox is anyone’s guess. There’s no concrete reasoning behind it. In fact nowhere has Google ever acknowledged the sandbox effect in the first place, it’s only SEOs who’ve been in the online marketing business for long enough that know about this and the confusion and heart break this brings.

External Links Report in GSC for a New Website

If you’re building links to a new website but don’t see them reflect in the Google Search Console, don’t worry. It’s normal for there to be long periods of silence in GSC for days or even weeks.

Real Life Example:

We launched a new website (let’s call in “SiteAlpha” for the benefit of this article) in mid February and started slow and gradual link building. Until today, that’s 11th March or  25 days later, the GSC showed just one external link. Today all of a sudden, 10 more popped in. That’s still half of the actual number that Google has indexed. But you get the point – there will be delays in external link reporting on GSC for new sites in the sandbox.

Overview & Performance Reports

For a brand new website, it is common to see some activity right after launch (if the site has enough content to start with). In the performance report if you see some clicks in the first few days of the launch and then a long period of inactivity, don’t be alarmed. It’s normal for a new site.

Real Life Example:

After launching SiteAlpha in the mid of Feb, we got some Google clicks around the 20th of Feb. Then the next click after 20 days. That’s normal.

Must Dos for a New Website

  • Add the site to Google Search Console early
  • Submit a sitemap asap. If you don’t have a sitemap, then manually add every important page that you want to rank using “URL Inspection”.
  • Build links in a schedule. Decide how many links a week you will build and try and stick to it. It’s okay to deviate a little, don’t worry.
  • Build overall links – follow, no follow, image, social etc. Best to get averages of your top 10 ranking competitors and follow that to be in the safe zone.
  • Keep at it. The first few months can be demoralising, but keep at it with discipline.
  • Some extras – do your privacy policies/terms, Facebook page etc. Just like a normal company would.
  • I go in great detail of how we ranked a website #1 on Google for casino keywords. Read that for advanced tactics.

Many sites are launched just for the purpose of paid advertising or Amazon/e-commerce, but we still recommend keeping a close eye on the search console for penalty usability factors.

Have questions? Feel free to ask using the comment section below:

Arjun is the founding Director of Modulus Systems, Modulus Systems Europe Ltd and He has 11 years of experience in Search Marketing and runs other non IT businesses in parallel making him a unique search marketing consultant who focuses on conversions and business profits. He has appeared in various TV interviews, helped design some of the most popular SEO Wordpress plugins, set up affiliate websites, Amazon businesses and has helped top UK & European companies in the Travel, Gambing, Education, Hospitality sector achieve #1 ranks on Google for some very competitive key-phrases.

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